Seven Wolverines Sign Professional Contracts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Seven University of Michigan hockey players, Nick Blankenburg, Kent Johnson, Owen Power, matty beniers, Garrett Van Wyhe, Brendan Brisson and Thomas Bordeaux have signed professional contracts since the end of the season for the Wolverines.

Blankenburg Signs One-Year Deal with Columbus Blue Jackets

senior-captain Nick Blankenburg of the University of Michigan hockey team has signed a one-year entry-level contract for the remainder of the 2021-22 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Blankenburg led the Wolverines to the 2022 NCAA Frozen Four and the Big Ten Tournament Championship. He had a career season offensively with 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points and was named honorable mention all-conference. Blankenburg’s 14 goals tied the Michigan program record for goals in a single season by a senior defenseman. Along with freshman Luke Hughes, the pair became the first two defensemen to reach double digits in goals since the 2005-06 season. Additionally, Blankenburg was second on the team in blocked shots with 47 and was a +17.

During his four-year Michigan career, Blankenburg played in 133 games and scored 25 goals and 44 assists for 69 points. I have finished at +52 with 10 power-play goals and three game-winning goals. A three-time honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, Blankeburg was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. A native of Washington, Mich., Blankenburg was a finalist for the 2022 Senior CLASS Award.

He will join fellow Wolverine Zach Werenski in Columbus on Monday.

Nick Blankenburg (Michigan Photography)

Johnson Signs Three-Year ELC with Columbus

sophomore forward Kent Johnson has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Columbus’ fifth-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Johnson spent two seasons in Ann Arbor as an electrifying attacking forward. Known for his show-stopping creative flair, Johnson scored eight goals and added 29 assists this past season for 37 points in 32 games. He finished fourth in the nation in assists per game and was 16th in points per game. He scored four game-winning goals, four power-play goals and one short-handed goal, and finished at +25. An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection for the second straight season, he also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.

During his freshmen year, Johnson was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team while finishing second on the team in scoring with 27 points on nine goals and 17 assists in 26 games. He was third in the nation in rookie points per game.

He wraps up his time in the Maize & Blue with 64 points in 58 games, netting 17 goals and 47 assists with a +41 rating.

Internationally, Johnson was a key member of the Canadian World Junior team before the tournament was ended due to COVID-19. Months later, in the midst of a strong sophomore campaign, Johnson was invited by Hockey Canada to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Although initially slated to be an alternate, he appeared in every game for the Canadians and finished as a point-per-game player with one goal and four assists with a +4 rating in five games.

He will join fellow Wolverines Zach Werenski and Nick Blankenburg in Columbus on Monday.

Johnson, Kent
Kent Johnson (Michigan Photography)

No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Power Heading to Buffalo

sophomore defenseman Owen Powerthe No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft, has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres, the team announced on Friday (April 8).

In a stellar 59-game career with the Wolverines, Power carved six goals and 42 assists for 48 points along with a +46 rating.

This season, Power was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection as well as a finalist for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. The Mississauga, Ontario native was named to the NCAA All-Region Team last week as he tallied four assists in the Regional Final, the second most helpers by a Wolverine in an NCAA Tournament game. An Academic All-Big Ten selection, he was leading the nation’s defenseman in points per game before leaving for the Olympics. He finished fifth in the nation in assists per game and was third amongst defensemen in points per game.

In his freshman campaign after being tabbed to the conference’s all-freshman team, Power was tabbed the College Hockey News Freshman of the Year. I have played in all 26 games and had three goals and 13 assists.

The first-ever Wolverine to go first overall in the NHL Draft, Power has had an incredible international career. The Mississauga, Ontario native won a gold medal at the 2021 World Championship and tallied three assists in 10 games while being named the Player of the Game vs. ROC. He made history in January as the first defenseman in Canada’s history to net a hat trick in the World Junior Championship. Two months later at the Olympics, Power led Canada in time on ice, averaging 21:38 per game, and had a team-high 10 shots on goal and one assist.

The Sabers have three games remaining on their current road trip: Friday at Florida, Sunday at Tampa Bay and Tuesday at Toronto. Buffalo’s next home game is Thursday against St. Louis.

Power, Owen
Owen Power (Michigan Photography)

Beniers Agrees to Terms with Seattle Kraken

sophomore forward matty beniers has agreed to terms with the Seattle Kraken, who drafted him second overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. It’s a three-year entry-level contract.

“It’s truly an honor to join the Kraken organization, officially, and I can’t wait to get started,” said Beniers. “Although we fell short of our goal, I loved my time with Michigan and am looking forward to the next step in my journey. Being drafted last summer was surreal. I’m excited to get to Seattle.”

A first-team All-American, Beniers was a finalist for both the Hobey Baker Award and the Big Ten Player of the Year award. He was the B1G scoring champion with 26 points in 18 games and was a unanimous first-team selection, while also earning B1G All-Tournament team honors. The alternate captain led Michigan in scoring this season with 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points in 37 games, averaging 1.16 points per game. He tallied five game-winning goals, ranking him seventh in the nation in the category and was fourth in the nation in power-play goals with 10. He won over 260 face-offs with a 48.8 percent win percentage and boasted an on-ice rating of +29, the best in the B1G and 10th in the nation. He had points in 25 games and 15 multiple-point games.

Beniers completes his collegiate career at Michigan with 30 goals and 37 assists in 61 games played. With 10 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals, I have finished an impressive +50.

The Hingham, Mass., native won a gold medal at the 201 World Junior Championships before claiming a bronze medal at the World Championships a few months later. He was tabbed alternate captain of Team USA at the 2022 World Junior and was later named to the USA Olympic Team. In Beijing, he had a goal and an assist and led all US forwards in time on ice. He adds a bronze medal from the 2018 U18 Championship.

There is no set date for Beniers’ NHL debut, but he is expected to be at practice with his new team on Monday (April 11).

Beniers, Matty
Matty Beniers (Michigan Photography)

Van Wyhe Signs with Utica Comets of the AHL

senior-forward Garrett Van Wyhe has signed a standard player contract with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, the New Jersey Devils affiliate announced on Tuesday (April 12).

A native of Seattle, Wash., Van Wyhe was named to the NCAA Midwest All-Region Team two weeks ago. He scored goals in both games against AIC and Quinnipiac in the NCAA Regional and added an assist in Michigan’s overtime loss in the Frozen Four. This season he scored six goals, two short-handed, while adding six assists and winning over 150 face-offs.

During his four-year career as a Wolverine, Van Wyhe played in 135 games and totaled 16 goals and 21 assists.

Van Wyhe, Garrett
Garrett Van Wyhe (Michigan Photography)

Brisson Signs ATO with Henderson Knights

sophomore forward Brendan Brisson has signed an American Hockey League tryout agreement with the Henderson Silver Knights, the Vegas Golden Knights affiliate announced on Tuesday (April 12).

Brisson averaged 1.11 points per game during his sophomore season with the Wolverines with 42 points in 38 games. He scored 21 goals and 21 assists and was second in the nation in game-winning goals with six to his credit. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native added six power-play goals and was a +17. Known for his wicked one-timer, Brisson had points in 24 games and 13 multiple-point games. A second-team All-B1G selection he was named to the B1G All-Tournament team as well as the NCAA All-Region team.

As a freshman, Brisson was the team’s leading goal scorer with 10 tallies and added 11 assists for 21 points in 24 games. He ranked seventh in the nation in points per game for a rookie.

In all I have totaled 63 points on 31 goals and 32 assists in 62 games as a Wolverine.

A member of the USA Olympic Team, Brisson scored game-winners for the Americas in each of its first two games in Beijing. That followed a gold-medal performance at the 2021 World Junior Championships, where he netted two goals on seven shots.

The first-round selection of Vegas in the 2020 draft, Brisson is expected to make his debut on Wednesday (April 13) vs. Stockton.

Brison, Brendan
Brendan Brisson (Michigan Photography)

Bordeleau Heads to San Jose

The 2021 Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year sophomore Thomas Bordeaux has signed an amateur tryout agreement with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks affiliate announced on Tuesday (April 12).

The 38th selection in the 2020 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks, Bordeleau was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021 earning Second-Team All-Big Ten and All-Freshman Team honors. He led the nation in rookie scoring with 30 points on eight goals and a team-best 22 assists in 24 games.

A point per game player, Bordeleau scored 12 goals this season and added 25 assists in 37 games. He won 56.2 percent of his face-offs – 353 wins overall – and was a +18. He scored three game-winning goals, two power-play goals, and a short-handed goal. A native of Terrebonne, Que., Bordeleau captured Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors while collecting a point in 25 games.

In his two-year career, he has scored 20 goals and 47 assists for 67 points in 61 games. I have finished +35 and won 564 face-offs (56.9 percent).

Bordeleau could debut as early as Wednesday (April 13) when San Jose takes on Bakersfield.

Bordeaux, Thomas
Thomas Bordeleau (Michigan Photography)

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